50 NFL Players with Something to Prove After Week 1 Debacles

Vincent Frank@VincentFrankNFLCorrespondent ISeptember 13, 2011

50 NFL Players with Something to Prove After Week 1 Debacles

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    Week 1 of the NFL season always brings surprises and disappointments. Certain players step up and prove their worth, while others are just not ready for "prime time." 

    Another issue is players that have the talent and continue to under-perform. Some of this underachieving is carried forward from previous seasons and some of it is completely new. 

    In order for certain teams to succeed they need a wide variety of players to step up and take their game to the next level. Other teams rely solely on a couple different players, but the theme remains the same: NFL success is in the hands of the players more than any other variable of football.

    Other issues arise, such as injuries. When this occurs, players that had been lower on the depth chart are now asked to step up and become a valuable starter for their team.

    Today I am going to focus on 50 players that need to step up in Week 2. 

50. RB Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans

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    Week 1 Statistics: 9 rushes, 24 yards, 2.8-yard average

    What happened

    Chris Johnson was just not ready to play in a regular season game after an extended holdout. The reason I have Johnson so low on the list is because he will get his legs and become the dominating force that many of us expected. 

    Once Johnson gains those legs he will be able to complement the solid play of quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. This will give Tennessee the variety it needs on offense to succeed.

    Week 2 matchup

    vs. Baltimore Ravens

    Outlook

    It is going to take Johnson a little bit of time to get his legs regular-season ready. I doubt very much he is going to be able to get started against Baltimore's stout defense next week. So, I would avoid starting him in a fantasy league if you have another viable running back option.

    However, you can expect Johnson to get it started the next couple weeks against Denver and Cleveland. 

49. QB/RB/WR Brad Smith, Buffalo Bills

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    Week 1 Statistics: 0-of-1 passing, one interception, three rushes for six yards, one kick return for 21 yards

    What happened

    It is extremely hard to find a negative in the Bills' thorough butt-whipping of the defending NFC West champs, Kansas City Chiefs, but leave it to me to find one.

    Buffalo's offense is missing the necessary weapons to make Sunday's performance a norm this season. So, the Bills are going to have to get creative. This is where Brad Smith comes into play. He has the ability to take it to the house on every play. The Bills need to get him involved in the offense more as the season progresses. This means reverses, Wildcat plays and lining him up wide. 

    Having Smith on this list has more to do with scheme than any example of him not performing up to level.

    Week 2 matchup

    vs. Oakland Raiders

    Outlook

    I fully expect head coach Chan Gailey and offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins to utilize Smith a lot better moving forward. He is one of their best offensive weapons and will be treated as such. 

    Overall, the Bills seem to have a solid chance at starting 2-0 this season. However, to beat Oakland next week they will have to make Smith a larger part of their offense. 

48. OT Jonathan Scott, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    What happened

    A lot of Pittsburgh's issues last week against Baltimore can be placed directly on the offensive line. While Ben Roethlisberger did struggle a great deal, there was a reason for it.

    The offensive line stunk it up big time. How do you let one of the best pass rushers in the NFL, Terrell Suggs, rack up three sacks? Breakdowns in every aspect of pass protection.

    Week 2 matchup

    vs. Seattle Seahawks

    Outlook

    Pittsburgh's best offensive linemen, Willie Colon, is going to miss extended time due to a biceps injury. This is a devastating blow to an already questionable unit. Scott may not be a starter-caliber offensive tackle in the NFL, but he will have to play like that for the remainder of the season.

    The Seattle Seahawks are up next, which shouldn't cause concern for this beleaguered unit, but moving forward you can expect Scott and Co. to struggle a great deal.

47. RB Cadillac Williams, St. Louis Rams

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    Week 1 Statistics: 19 rushes for 91 yards, 4.8-yard average, six receptions for 49 yards

    What happened

    Steven Jackson went down with an injury and will miss at least a week. Cadillac Williams came in and played extremely well against the Philadelphia Eagles with 140 total yards on 25 touches. This is the Williams we knew coming out of Auburn a few years back. In fact, it was Williams' best single-game performance since a December 2009 game against the New Orleans Saints.

    Week 2 matchup

    at New York Giants

    Outlook

    It is one thing to fill in for Jackson during a single game. It is a completely different situation when opposing defenses have an entire week to prepare. Jackson's injury could have been more devastating and the fact that it appears to be a "minor" injury is a great sign for St. Louis. 

    However, quarterback Sam Bradford is a little nicked up right now too. Williams needs to perform at a high level next week against the New York Giants in order for St. Louis to avoid an 0-2 start. 

46. LB Casey Matthews, Philadelphia Eagles

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    Week 1 Statistics: 4 tackles

    What happened

    Philadelphia may be questioning the decision to give the keys to their starting middle linebacker position to a rookie fourth-round pick after Casey Matthews' performance against St. Louis last week.

    Casey Matthews, the brother of Packers All-Pro Clay Matthews, just didn't look NFL-ready in his first game as a pro. He was unable to drop back into coverage a great deal and had major issues recognizing offensive schemes. 

    More times than not, I noticed Matthews take himself completely out of a play because of a lack of recognition. The St. Louis Rams ran 67 plays last Sunday and Philadelphia's starting middle linebacker was involved in only four tackles.

    Week 2 matchup

    at Atlanta Falcons

    Outlook

    Philadelphia invested millions of dollars on key free agent signings and other offseason moves this season, but it decided it made sense to leave an important position in the hands of a rookie. I am not saying Matthews will not succeed as a middle linebacker in the NFL, but as of right Matthews appears to be in over his head. 

45. TE Brandon Pettigrew, Detroit Lions

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    Week 1 Statistics: 4 receptions, 57 yards

    What happened

    Maybe I am just picking on certain players—this could be the reason I have Brandon Pettigrew on the list. However, he has had major issues with dropped passes over his first couple seasons and that didn't change Sunday. From my estimate, Pettigrew dropped two passes out of six targets. Not a great ratio, if you ask me.

    Week 2 matchup

    vs. Kansas City Chiefs

    Outlook

    The reason why I am so hard on Pettigrew is that I believe he has amazing physical talent and could be up there with the best tight ends in the entire league. I envision him being able to perform up to the level of Antonio Gates and Vernon Davis. However, dropped passes are not going to let him get to that level.

    This week, Pettigrew will be taking on an Eric Berry-less Kansas City Chiefs defense that got destroyed by the Buffalo Bills.

    Look for Pettigrew to have a huge game. 

44. QB Kerry Collins, Indianapolis Colts

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    Week 1 Statistics: 16-of-31, 131 yards, 1 touchdown, 0 interceptions, 3 fumbles (2 lost)

    What happened

    The Indianapolis Colts looked like a semi-pro team last week against Houston. Seriously, it was an ugly performance in every possible aspect.

    The offense looked listless without Peyton Manning, Kerry Collins couldn't get anything going and it was downhill from the first minute of the game.

    Week 2 Matchup

    vs. Cleveland Browns

    Outlook

    Not good at all. We all knew that Manning was the most "valuable" player to his team—this really isn't in question. However, the Colts' performance last Sunday magnified it to a great extent.

    Collins has tons of NFL experience and needs to show veteran leadership on a team that appears to be taking a defeatist attitude already.

    We all know Indianapolis will not make the playoffs in 2011 but Collins can make them at least respectable. He didn't do that last Sunday against the Houston Texans. 

43. LB Michael Boley, New York Giants

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    Week 1 Statistics: 4 tackles (3 solo)

    What happened

    The Redskins picked apart New York's pass defense on Sunday. It was so bad I ran out of defensive backs to blame for the horrible performance. Washington Redskins tight end Fred Davis went for 100 yards while working the middle of the field for Rex Grossman. 

    Michael Boley was nowhere to be found on pass defense and continues to be a liability in New York's front seven.

    Week 2 matchup

    vs. St. Louis Rams

    Outlook

    Boley has been a major liability in pass coverage since coming over to New York from the Atlanta Falcons a couple seasons ago and something needs to be done in order to fix it. The Giants could go with Jacquian Williams to replace Boley, but he has struggled as well.

    Another option would be to move Mark Herzlich to the weak side spot from his regular strong side position. Either way, if Boley doesn't fix this he wont see the field a great deal moving forward. 

42. DT Gerald McCoy, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Week 1 Statistics: 2 tackles (2 solo)

    What happened

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers did not get to Matthew Stafford once on Sunday. This lack of pressure enabled Detroit's signal caller to pick apart Tampa Bay's pass defense. A lot of blame can go around in regards to this, but I am most disappointed in Gerald McCoy.

    McCoy was the third overall pick in the 2010 draft and has yet to live up to his potential. He recorded fewer than 30 tackles and only three sacks last season. On Sunday, McCoy was pretty much non-existent in both run stuffing and quarterback pressures.


    Week 2 matchup

    at Minnesota Vikings

    Outlook

    It is too early to call McCoy a bust, but he really does need to step up this season. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are relying on his presence up front. Without it they are going to be in trouble moving forward. The Vikings' offensive line wasn't too great against San Diego on Sunday, so he may have an opportunity to prove his worth this week. 

41. WR Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals

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    Week 1 Statistics: 3 receptions, 62 yards, 0 touchdowns, 7 targets

    What happened

    What appeared to be a nice little relationship in the preseason really didn't have that look against a sub-par Carolina pass defense on Sunday. Larry Fitzgerald was targeted seven times but only made three receptions. This lack of execution allowed Carolina to remain in the game against a superior team. 


    Week 2 matchup

    at Washington Redskins

    Outlook

    There is no doubt in my mind that Fitzgerald will put up some amazing numbers this season in Arizona, but he didn't do that last week against Carolina. He now needs to take over an offense that is lacking a lot of playmakers outside of himself. 

40. LB Dan Connor, Carolina Panthers

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    Week 1 Statistics: 6 tackles (5 solo)


    What happened

    The Carolina Panthers lost the heart and soul of their defense, Jon Beason, and it appears he will be out for the remainder of the 2011 season. While this is a devastating injury in every possible way, it gives Dan Connor an opportunity to step up.

    The former third-round pick will now have to take over for Beason and it could set Carolina's defense back a great deal in 2011.


    Week 2 matchup

    vs. Green Bay Packers


    Outlook

    Connor is going to have an major test this week against Green Bay's dynamic offense. He will be asked to man the middle against the likes of Jermichael Finley and Ryan Grant, two physically imposing offensive threats.

    What this test will do is give him an idea of what it takes to play the linebacker spot in the NFL. I was a huge fan of Connor's coming out of Penn State, and now he has a chance to prove me right. 



39. WR Chad Ochocinco, New England Patriots

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    Week 1 Statistics: 1 reception, 14 yards, 3 targets

    What happened

    Well, Tom Brady threw for more than 500 yards last night against the Miami Dolphins, but Chad Ochocinco was a non-factor in the record-setting performance. 

    He was only targeted three times and didn't seem to play a pivotal role in New England's offense. The Patriots had four different players with more than 80 yards receiving, but where was Ochocinco? 

    Week 2 Matchup

    vs. San Diego Chargers

    Outlook

    We already know the Patriots' impatience for veteran struggles. This has been well documented since their "dynasty" began nearly a decade ago. New England's offense didn't seem to miss a step against a good Miami Dolphins defense last night, so Ochocinco may be on his way out.

    However, you can never discount the talent of a player such as Ochocinco. He still has the ability to physically dominate corners on the outside, and I fully expect New England to give him ample opportunities at success over the next couple weeks. Sunday's matchup against San Diego will be a huge test for the veteran receiver. 


38. WR Mike Sims-Walker, St. Louis Rams

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    Week 1 Statistics: 1 reception, 5 yards, 4 targets 


    What happened

    Mike Sims-Walker looked a lot like a player that regressed a great deal with Jacksonville last season. He couldn't get separation from Philadelphia defenders and was completely non-existent in the passing game. 

    Week 2 matchup

    at New York Giants


    Outlook

    With Steven Jackson apparently out for Sunday's game against the Giants, quarterback Sam Bradford ailing with an injury and wide receiver Danny Amendola out indefinitely, Sims-Walker is going to have to step up.

    However, I really don't have confidence in him becoming the player we saw in 2009. 

37. OT Joe Staley, San Francisco 49ers

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    What happened

    Joe Staley was a first-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers a couple years ago but hasn't fully lived up to expectations at this point. He struggled a great deal in pass protection against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. The former Central Michigan standout also had two penalties, a hold and false start.

    Week 2 matchup

    vs. Dallas Cowboys


    Outlook

    I understand this was Staley's first regular-season game since October of last year, but he looked incredibly ineffective in every aspect of the game. This week, San Francisco will be going up against the pass rushing talents of Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Ware. Staley is going to have his hands full. 

36. RB LeGarrette Blount, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Week 1 Statistics: 5 rushes, 15 yards, 3.0-yard average, 0 receptions 


    What happened

    I think Tampa Bay's offensive coordinator, Greg Olson, completely forgot LeGarrette Blount was on the roster. Why else would your 1,000-yard rusher touch the ball five times?

    This makes absolutely no sense to me. Detroit's rush defense is pretty solid, but Blount needed to see the ball a lot more. 


    Week 2 matchup

    at Minnesota Vikings


    Outlook

    As long as Blount touches the ball he will be an effective running back for Tampa Bay. The problem is, he actually needs to see the ball. I fully expect Tampa Bay to feature the second-year running back more this Sunday. 

35. TE Zach Miller, Seattle Seahawks

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    Week 1 Statistics: 2 receptions, 19 yards, 4 targets

    What Happened

    Tarvaris Jackson just couldn't find Zach Miller open up the middle. San Francisco did a great job disguising coverage and Donte Whitner acted like a blanket in covering Miller. He couldn't get separation and the scheme questioned his ability to succeed. 

    Week 2 matchup

    at Pittsburgh Steelers

    Outlook

    Miller is learning a new scheme and quarterback, so it will probably take some time for them to get in sync. However, it will not happen this Sunday against an angry Pittsburgh Steelers defense. 

34. RB Felix Jones, Dallas Cowboys

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    Week 1 Statistics: 17 rushes, 44 yards, 2.6-yard average, 1 touchdown

    What happened

    Felix Jones ran into a wall named the New York Jets, it really is that simple. He wasn't able to get started at all in the running game and it had an extremely negative impact on the Cowboys' ability to succeed Sunday night. Jones also had his share of issues in pass protection, which is a prerequisite for a starting running back in the NFL.


    Week 2 matchup

    at San Francisco 49ers


    Outlook

    Dallas is going from the top rush defense in the NFL (New York Jets, to another top-tier rush defense in the San Francisco 49ers. I doubt he will be able to get much more room going up against the likes of Justin Smith and Patrick Willis.

    Moving froward, Jones is going to need to give Dallas some yards on the ground in order for its offense to succeed. 

33. OT Sam Baker, Atlanta Falcons

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    What Happened

    Sam Baker went up against Julius Peppers and it really wasn't fair. He gave up two sacks and multiple pressures against the All-Pro Chicago Bears defender. This disabled the Falcons' ability to look down field and get the offense going. Baker's play, or lack thereof, was a prime reason why Atlanta struggled so much on Sunday. 

    Week 2 matchup

    vs. Philadelphia Eagles

    Outlook

    It doesn't get any easier for Baker this Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. Baker has struggled in pass protection throughout his career and it will be magnified if he doesn't fix it soon.

32. RB Joseph Addai, Indianapolis Colts

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    Week 1 Statistics: 8 rushes, 39 yards, 4.8-yard average


    What happened

    The Indianapolis Colts were just man-handled at the line of scrimmage against Houston in Week 1. Their offensive line didn't give their playmakers an ability to succeed. Joseph Addai did average nearly five yards per rush, which is a lone bright spot. 


    Week 2 matchup

    vs. Cleveland Browns


    Outlook

    Again, not good for Indianapolis. Addai hasn't been a real good starting running back in the NFL over the last few seasons and that was with Peyton Manning in the backfield. I really doubt that he breaks loose with Kerry Collins back there. 

31. WR Mike Williams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Week 1 Statistics: 4 receptions, 50 yards, 10 targets

    What happened

    You see the 50 yards receiving and it will deceive you. Williams was targeted 10 different times and only came up with four receptions, which isn't great production, if you ask me. Tampa Bay is asking him to be its No. 1 wide receiver this season but it didn't look like he was up for the task against Chris Houston and Detroit's secondary.

    Week 2 matchup

    at Minnesota Vikings

    Outlook

    It is hard to question the talent Williams possesses. He is an extremely dynamic receiver, and if the offense starts to open it up you can expect big things from him this season. However, it may not happen against an improved Minnesota Vikings secondary. 

30. OT Tyron Smith, Dallas Cowboys

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    What happened

    The youngest player in the NFL, Tyron Smith, played that role to a tee against the New York Jets on Sunday Night. He was absolutely dreadful in pass protection, was called for a couple different penalties and looked lost at times. Many assumed Smith wasn't ready to start in the NFL and his debut may have lent credence to that view.

    Week 2 matchup

    at San Francisco 49ers

    Outlook

    You can fully expect Smith to continue these struggles as a rookie. He doesn't have the pass protection skills to succeed at this level yet. It wont be much easier for Smith this week going up against Ray McDonald and the San Francisco 49ers front seven, who had five sacks and eight quarterback hits against Seattle. 

    Look for Smith to struggle even more Sunday. 

29. S Jon McGraw, Kansas City Chiefs

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    Week 1 Statistics: 8 solo tackles

    What happened

    Eric Berry went out with a torn ACL and will be lost for the season. In his stead will be veteran Jon McGraw, who has been a solid special teams performer. However, that did not translate to the defense in a stunning Week 1 loss to the Buffalo Bills. The Chiefs have up 364 yards and 23 first downs. 

    Week 2 matchup

    at Detroit Lions

    Outlook

    It really isn't fair to ask McGraw to replace Berry but that is what he will be doing for the remaining 15 games of the 2011 season. This week is gets even more difficult going up against a talented Detroit Lions offense. Look for him to struggle big time in pass defense. 

28. RB DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers

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    Week 1 Statistics: 12 rushes, 30 yards, 2.5.-yard average


    What happened

    While quarterback Cam Newton was proving skeptics wrong, including myself, DeAngelo Williams was doing absolutely nothing. He averaged fewer than three yards per rush and was a non-factor in Carolina's offense—this on the heels of signing a long-term extension during the shortened offseason.

    Week 2 matchup

    vs. Green Bay Packers

    Outlook

    Newton is not going to throw the ball for 400 yards each time out, that much is pretty obvious. You are looking at him running more of a game management-style offense. This is where both Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams come into play, especially against a vastly superior Green Bay Packers team. Williams will have to rush for more than 100 yards Sunday in order for Carolina to have a shot at the upset. 

27. RB Ryan Matthews, San Diego Chargers

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    Week 1 Statistics: 12 rushes, 45 yards, 3.8-yard average, 3 receptions for 73 yards

    What happened

    Ryan Matthews did have 118 total yards of offense against Minnesota, but he wasn't decisive running the ball up the middle or around the ends. Instead, I noticed him hesitate a great deal when attempting to hit the hole. As a second-year running back, Matthews should have better field vision. 

    Week 2 matchup

    at New England Patriots

    Outlook

    Matthews really needs to prove himself worth of the first-round pick that he cost San Diego. Up until now he hasn't been able to get it started. He did have more than 100 yards in Week 1, so that is a positive sign. Look for San Diego and New England to have an "all-air" type contest, meaning he might not be a major factor in Week 2. 

26. WR Percy Harvin, Minnesota Vikings

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    Week 1 Statistics: 2 receptions, 7 yards, four targets, 102-yard kickoff return for TD


    What happened

    As electrifying of a play that Harvin made on the opening kickoff against San Diego on Sunday, he was non-existent for the remainder of the game. Donovan McNabb only threw 15 passes, and four of them were targeted to Harvin, who only had two receptions. 


    Week 2 matchup

    vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers


    Outlook

    When Minnesota lost wide receiver Sidney Rice to the Seattle Seahawks to free agency, it expected Harvin to have a larger role in the offense. Well, that didn't happen against San Diego. I doubt very much that he will have a breakout performance against a solid Tampa Bay defense. 

25. RB Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers

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    Week 1 Statistics: 22 rushes, 59 yards, 2.7-yard average


    What happened

    Frank Gore didn't look all that bad on Sunday against the Seahawks, but he didn't look like a Pro Bowl-caliber running back, either. He was quick to go down, didn't hit the hole solid and ran away from the open field a lot. I am not sure what to make of his performance but it wasn't good at all.

    Week 2 matchup

    vs. Dallas Cowboys

    Outlook

    In order for San Francisco's offense to get going it needs to have No. 21 running the ball with passion and anger, something he has done over the course of his NFL career. I have no doubt Gore will rekindle all the success he has had in the league—it will be difficult to do against a solid Dallas Cowboys rush defense. 

24. RB Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs

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    Week 1 Statistics: 10 rushes, 56 yards, 5.6-yard average

    What happened

    How many of us expected Jamaal Charles to go off for 200 yards and multiple scores against a horrible Buffalo Bills rush defense? I did. Instead, the game didn't call for him to touch the ball as much as Kansas City would have liked. That happens when you fall down by two touchdowns at the half and four by the end of the third quarter. Still, Charles had limited impact in the game.


    Week 2 matchup

    at Detroit Lions

    Outlook

    It doesn't promise to get much better for Charles going up against a stout rush defense in the Detroit Lions. It is hard for me to imagine him breaking the 100-yard plateau in this game. However, I have no doubt that Charles will end up picking it up sooner rather than later. Just feed him the ball and see what happens. 

23. QB Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams

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    Week 1 Statistics: 17-of-30, 188 yards, 0 touchdowns, 0 interceptions


    What Happened

    The Rams offense fell flat on its face once Steven Jackson left the game, that is what happened. Sam Bradford proved that he still has a lot to learn about the quarterback position in the NFL, and the Rams only converted two of 12 third-down attempts. 

    Week 2 matchup

    at New York Giants

    Outlook

    The goods news is that Bradford will be going up against a much worse pass defense in the New York Giants (see later in the article). The bad news is he will be doing to without the likes of Jackson and Danny Amendola. Look for the struggles to continue in the Giants' home-opener on Monday Night Football. 

22. RB Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks

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    Week 1 Statistics: 13 Rushes, 33 yards, 2.5-yard average

    What Happened

    The Seahawks just couldn't run the ball against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. It really is that simple. San Francisco dominated the line of scrimmage, threw the Seahawks offensive line into its backfield and closed holes quickly. Marshawn Lynch really didn't have an opportunity to get control of the running game. 

    Week 2 matchup

    at Pittsburgh Steelers


    Outlook

    If you think the 49ers' rush defense was difficult to go against, think again. Seattle has almost zero chance to make an impact in the running game. Lynch needs to be a playmaker because the passing game just isn't there yet, but it won't happen this week. 

21. QB Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles

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    Week 1 Statistics: 14-of-32, 187 yards, 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 10 rushes for 98 yards


    What happened

    OK, before anyone attacks me for this, just hear me out. That 14-of-32 passing line will not get it done in important games moving forward this season. Michael Vick was way too erratic in his throws and showed little composure in the pocket. He really looked like a Falcons rookie out there. The difference is that he has the football IQ to make plays, hang around the edge and get into the open field. This is something that continues to make Vick a dangerous quarterback, even when he struggles passing. 

    Week 2 matchup

    at Atlanta Falcons 


    Outlook

    Vick has really become an accurate passer over the seasons and one hiccup isn't going to change this. He will be going up against another poor pass defense in the Atlanta Falcons, so you can expect a real solid performance from Vick in that regard. 

20. RB Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Week 1 Statistics: 12 rushes, 45 yards, 3.8-yard average

    What happened

    Let;s face it, Pittsburgh played like absolute crap against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 1, and there is a lot more blame to go around than placing it on the shoulders of Mendenhall. However, rushing aside, he did an absolutely horrible job in pass protection. I noted him miss on at least two blocks in watching a replay of the game. In terms of rushing, he still looked like a workhorse.  

    Week 2 matchup

    vs. Seattle Seahawks

    Outlook

    You can expect Pittsburgh to get right back on the ball against Seattle next Sunday. It is a vastly superior team in nearly every way and it will show. Mendenhall should have an extremely solid game. 

19. WR Vincent Jackson, San Diego Chargers

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    Week 1 Statistics: 2 receptions, 31 yards, 0 touchdowns, 3 targets

    What happened

    Vincent Jackson got shut down by an aging Minnesota Vikings corner, Antoine Winfield. He has only two receptions and was pretty much a non-factor for San Diego's offense. 

    He sure looked to be worth eight figures this last weekend, huh?

    Week 2 matchup

    at New England Patriots

    Outlook

    Doesn't seem too good at this point for Jackson. He isn't one of the best receivers in the NFL, though he gets paid like one. He loves to run his mouth, demand more money, threaten to sit out entire seasons or even hold up and end of a lockout.

    However, really, what has he done? Not much, if you ask me. It is time for him to put that ego aside, get on the field and act the part of a No. 1 receiver. 

18. CB Patrick Robinson, New Orleans Saints

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    Week 1 Statistics: 5 tackles, 0 passes defended

    What happened

    Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings happened. Seriously, didn't some of you feel bad for Patrick Robinson last Thursday? I did. He was completely lost in going up against Jennings and the Saints continue to put him in that unenviable position. 

    Week 2 matchup

    vs. Chicago Bears

    Outlook

    It can't get much worse than going up against Jennings, but Robinson will have his hands full in attempting to defend passes thrown by Jay Cutler. Until Robinson proves he can be a true starting corner in the NFL, teams are going to pick on him. 

17. QB Kyle Orton, Denver Broncos

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    Week 1 Statistics: 24-of-46, 304 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception, 1 fumble lost


    What Happened

    Chants for Tim Tebow in Denver last night should tell you the entire story. He just didn't have that good of a time. Throwing for 300 yards is meaningless in the NFL (just ask Tony Romo); what is more important is making plays when it counts. Kyle Orton failed miserably in that aspect against Oakland. 

    Week 2 matchup

    vs. Cincinnati Bengals


    Outlook

    It isn't a good sign when your fans start to chant for the player you beat out in training camp during the very first regular season game. Orton cannot be happy with that. He will have a chance to prove he is the Broncos' starting quarterback next Sunday against a bad Cincinnati Bengals team. 

16. CB Joe Haden, Cleveland Browns

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    Week 1 Statistics: 3 tackles, 1 sack, 5 passes defended

    What happened

    You look at those stats above and it indicates a Darrelle Revis-type game, right? Well, that would be the right assessment to make on the exterior looking in, but one play caused that all to come crumbling down: blown coverage by Joe Haden against rookie wide receiver A.J. Green. This play changed the face of the game and put Cleveland in an unenviable spot of losing to the Cincinnati Bengals.

    Week 2 matchup

    at Indianapolis Colts

    Outlook

    The reason I have Haden on this list is because I believe he will be one of the best corners in the entire league in the near future, but in order to be rated among the best you need to play like it. I don't mean play like it for 3.5 quarters—rather, play like it the entire game. In order to be considered among the best you need to be consistently great, not just great a majority of the time.

    Expect Haden to make up for it against a pretty bad Indianapolis Colts team in Week 2. 

15. Entire Arizona Cardinals Secondary

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    Week 1 Statistics: allowed 26 first downs, 422 yards passing, 4 touchdown passes

    What happened

    I couldn't point out every single player in the Arizona Cardinals secondary in different slides, so I combined the horrid play that defined this unit against Carolina. How do you give up more than 400 yards passing to a rookie quarterback making his first start? I say it takes a lot of effort. Arizona's secondary just got lit up and really didn't try hard to stop it. It continued to play lazy in the back end, while allowing Newton to throw it all over the field. Just horrible. 

    Week 2 matchup

    at Washington Redskins

    Outlook

    I really don't know what to think at this point. Was Newton's success a mirage? Maybe. Was Arizona's failure a mirage? I highly doubt it. It will be going up against a surprisingly confident Rex Grossman on Sunday and that could mean more issues for this depleted unit. 

14. QB Donovan McNabb, Minnesota Vikings

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    Week 1 Statistics: 7-of-16, 39 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception

    What Happened

    Ouch, those stats cannot make Donovan McNabb feel too good about his first game with the Minnesota Vikings. He averaged fewer than than three yards per attempt and didn't look comfortable the entire game. Granted, Minnesota ran a very conservative game plan, but that isn't good. 

    Week 2 matchup

    vs. Tampa Bay

    Outlook

    The Vikings are going to have to stop relying so much on Adrian Peterson because eight in the box isn't going to make his day that much easier. Instead, they need to put the ball in the hands of a future Hall of Fame quarterback. I fully expect the Vikings to open it up a lot more against Tampa Bay, which will make for a much stronger performance by McNabb. 

    He also needs to get help from the receivers on the outside—earth to any Viking receiver who actually wants to show up. 

13. QB Colt McCoy, Cleveland Browns

38 of 50

    Week 1 Statistics: 19-of-40, 213 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception, 1 fumble

    What happened

    The Browns lost to the Cincinnati Bengals in a home-opener. Need I say more? Cleveland couldn't even muster 300 yards of total offense or 20 first downs—two signs this offense is nowhere near the level many thought it was. Colt McCoy completed less than 50 percent of his passes and held on to the ball a lot longer than Cleveland's offensive scheme would indicate he should.

    I view this as a tremendous regression for the second-year quarterback. 

    Week 2 matchup

    at Indianapolis Colts


    Outlook

    McCoy and the Cleveland Browns have one thing going for them. They will be facing a pretty bad Indianapolis Colts secondary in Week 2, which could heel a lot of ills. Expect McCoy to bounce back and have a big game. 

12. OT Russell Okung, Seattle Seahawks

39 of 50

    What happened

    "Holy chutes and ladders" is a term I came up with last season when I viewed egregious football. Most of the time that was when I was watching the  San Francisco 49ers play. Well, it was their opponent this time. Tarvaris Jackson was sacked five times, while being hit another eight times. Can you say Vicodin? 

    A lot of these pressures, hits and sacks actually came from Russell Okung's side where he was lining up against Ray McDonald. Some of the issues could be with his health, but it was an absolutely horrible performance nonetheless.

    Week 2 matchup

    at Pittsburgh Steelers

    Outlook

    It doesn't promise to get any easier for Okung and the Seattle Seahawks against Pittsburgh. This is a defense that is angry right now, and it's not a good idea to make James Harrison angry. Seattle's offensive line struggles should be even more magnified against the Steelers. 

11. CB Dunta Robinson, Atlanta Falcons

40 of 50

    Week 1 Statistics: 6 tackles, 0 passes defended

    What happened

    Dunta Robinson couldn't have covered your grandmother after a long night of Bingo. This is how bad he was on Sunday. Whether it was Roy Williams, Johnny Knox or even Devin Hester lining up against Robinson, he just didn't get it done. 

    This fits right into my preseason prediction of Robinson being one of the most overrated players in the entire NFL. He hasn't had a good season since he was a rookie and continues to regress. Robinson's performance against Chicago was a prime example of this. 

    Week 2 matchup

    vs. Philadelphia Eagles

    Outlook

    Atlanta would be stupid to line Robinson up against DeSean Jackson Sunday against Philadelphia, but what other options does it have? The Falcons were counting on Robinson to be their No. 1 corner and it hasn't happened.

    Fantasy disclaimer: Start DeSean Jackson Sunday. 


10. Entire New York Giants Offensive Line

41 of 50

    Week 1 Statistics: 3.8 yards per rush attempt, 4 sacks and 7 QB hits allowed

    What happened

    The Giants offensive line self-destructed against Washington—I can't be more honest with an assessment. It really was that bad for this unit. David Baas and David Diehl had major issues in pass protection a long the interior of the line and it was evident play after play. 

    Week 2 matchup

    vs. St. Louis Rams

    Outlook

    If I know Tom Coughlin, he will be getting in their faces a great deal during the week. There is no way a New York Giants' coached offensive line should play this bad. That said, they have the task of going up against Chris Long when the Rams come to town. That is a scary proposition. 

9. CBs Vontae Davis and Sean Smith, Miami Dolphins

42 of 50

    Week 1 Statistics: allowed 517 passing yards, 28 first downs, 4 touchdowns

    What happened

    Vontae Davis and Sean Smith might as well not been on the field against New England last night. Over 500 yards passing allowed? Are you serious? This was just embarrassing for the Miami Dolphins. What makes it worse is that many individuals proclaimed them to be one of the best one-two corner duos in the entire league. 

    Week 2 matchup

    vs. Houston Texans

    Outlook

    It gets easier this week, but not by much. One of them is going to have to cover Andre Johnson and I am not sure either has the confidence to do so at this point. The talent is there, but Davis and Smith need to step up big time. And that is a major understatement. 

8. WR Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs

43 of 50

    Week 1 Statistics: 2 receptions, 17 yards, 8 targets

    What happened

    Like everything else against the Buffalo Bills, everything happened. Dwayne Bowe had the ball thrown to him eight times and came up with a reception one-fourth of the time—not the sign of a true No. 1 NFL receiver. 

    He struggled getting off the line, didn't get separation in the open field and even dropped a pass or two. It was probably one of Bowe's worst games as a pro. 

    Week 2 matchup

    at Detroit Lions

    Outlook

    Bowe is an extremely talented receiver but he is also inconsistent at times. His performance against Buffalo proved this. 

    There is also a major issue in regards to offensive play calling for the Kansas City Chiefs, which needs addressing. Bowe will be going up against a much-improved Chris Houston against the Detroit Lions, so I am not sure he redeems himself Sunday. 

7. CB Aaron Ross, New York Giants

44 of 50

    Week 1 Statistics: 3 tackles, 0 passes defended

    What happened

    The Washington Redskins picked on Aaron Ross like he was Manny Delgado (Modern Family pun) wearing a dinner jacket to school. It really was that bad. Whether it was Anthony Armstrong or Santana Moss, it really didn't matter. 

    We already knew New York was going to miss Terrell Thomas a lot this season, but Ross' performance makes that even more clear at this point. 

    Week 2 matchup

    vs. St. Louis Rams

    Outlook

    Here is a positive for Ross and the New York Giants: He will be going up against an equally unimpressive Mike Sims-Walker when the Rams come to town Monday night. If Ross struggles against St. Louis he could be out on the streets relatively quickly, at least riding pine. 

6. QB Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

45 of 50

    Week 1 Statistics: 28-of-43, 259 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception

    What happened

    The Buccaneers just weren't that effective on offense against the Detroit Lions. Josh Freeman averaged 5.6 yards per pass attempts and seemed content to dump the ball down every chance he had. This is not a sign of a confident quarterback and it proved fatal for Tampa Bay. 

    Week 2 matchup

    at Minnesota Vikings

    Outlook

    Freeman didn't make my Pro Bowl prediction look too good on Sunday. He struggled reading Detroit's defense and didn't have the moxie that had defined his sophomore season. I fully expect Freeman to gain that groove sooner rather than later. 

5. RB Shonn Greene, New York Jets

46 of 50

    Week 1 Statistics: 10 rushes, 26 yards, 2.6-yard average

    What happened

    Shonn Greene fell back into his trap of hesitation in the back field and not picking up the right holes at the right times Sunday against Dallas. He seemed extremely timid when running the ball and wasn't able to make defenders miss.

    If it wasn't for a complete meltdown by the Dallas Cowboys, many New York Jets fans would be calling for Greene's head on a platter. 

    Week 2 matchup

    vs. Jacksonville Jaguars


    Outlook

    I don't think it will get much better for Greene this week. He goes up against a Jaguars defense that surprised a lot of people, including myself, by holding Chris Johnson in check. 

    Moreover, there remains a strong possibility that LaDainian Tomlinson will continue to take rushes away from Green moving forward. What started out as a promising career for the former Iowa Hawkeye is quickly turning into a major disappointment.

    He needs to change this trend immediately, but I am not sure that is probable at this point. 

4. QB Matt Cassel, Kansas City Chiefs

47 of 50

    Week 1 Statistics: 22-of-36, 119 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception

    What Happened

    I think the picture says it all. This was a horrible performance of epic proportions for Kansas City's offense. A lot of it was schematically—the play calling was horrid. Just look at Matt Cassel's numbers for a second: 119 yards passing on 36 attempts. Wouldn't they have been better off handing the ball to Jamaal Charles? Some of the blame can go to Cassel on this, but most of it needs to be placed on the offensive coaching staff. 

    Week 2 matchup

    at Detroit Lions

    Outlook

    If Kansas City doesn't improve soon, this could get ugly real quick. Todd Haley may already be on the hot-seat and Cassel just isn't performing up to the level that he should. The Pro Bowl quarterback needs to be more consistent and make plays at a higher rate.

    However, I highly doubt any of this will happen against Detroit in Kansas City's second game this upcoming weekend. 

3. QB Eli Manning, New York Giants

48 of 50

    Week 1 Statistics: 18-of-32, 268 yards, 0 touchdowns, 1 interception, 1 fumble

    What happened

    You can blame the Giants offensive line as much as you want and I already have, but the old saying goes "your team is only as good as your quarterback," and Eli Manning just isn't that good right now. 

    He struggled finding open receives, made errant throws, stood in the pocket too long and wasn't able to read Washington's defense. Those are all indicators of a quarterback struggling with confidence. 

    Week 2 matchup

    vs. St. Louis Rams 


    Outlook

    After struggling a great deal against the Washington Redskins, Manning may get a break when St. Louis visits this upcoming weekend. The Rams' secondary really isn't that good, and both Mario Manningham and Hakeem Nicks should be able to exploit that. 

    Manning really does need to regain that confidence that made him a Pro Bowl and Super Bowl-winning quarterback. 

    And this could be the right time for that to happen. 

2. QB Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

49 of 50

    Week 1 Statistics: 22-of-41, 280 yards, 1 touchdown, 3 interceptions, 2 lost fumbles


    What happened

    Seven turnovers and you lose by four touchdowns, that is what happened—and Ben Roethlisberger accounted for five of those turnovers. To be fair, he didn't have a whole heck of a lot of time to find open receivers. However, when he did, it wasn't pretty at all. 

    Roethlisberger threw into coverage way too many times, stared down receivers a great deal, held onto the ball too long when he actually had protection and didn't make smart decision. 

    You have to give respect where it is due: the Baltimore Ravens defense. However, Pittsburgh continued to kick itself in the foot with stupid play after stupid play. As the leader of the offense, Big Ben should should a lot of the blame for this disastrous performance. 


    Week 2 matchup

    vs. Seattle Seahawks

    Outlook

    Want to find a vaccine for disaster? Just play the Seattle Seahawks. This is what Pittsburgh is going to be doing this upcoming weekend and it should be clear to all of us the Steelers will mean business come game day. 

    Roethlisberger is still an extremely good quarterback and one horrendous performance isn't going to change that. Look for him to rebound in a great way against Seattle. 

1. QB Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys

50 of 50

    Week 1 Statistics: 23-of-36, 342 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception, 1 fumble lost


    What happened

    Smile, you're on Candid Camera! Well, not really, but it was a nationally televised game in which your team had a second consecutive season-opening collapse. The picture above would seem to indicate Dallas was winning by three with :03 second left, but that wasn't the case. 

    Tony Romo was actually giggling following an errant snap that placed Dallas in an unenviable position of having to go 60 yards on one play.

    It didn't happen and the Cowboys lost the game under horrible circumstances. Who is to blame for the loss? A lot of different players, but Romo should take the brunt of the blame. He fumbled down at the 1-yard line early in the fourth quarter when it looked like Dallas was going to take a two-score lead. And then Romo made the bright decision to throw the ball to "Revis Island." Well, it was intercepted, and the rest is history. 

    Week 2 matchup

    at San Francisco 49ers

    Outlook

    Romo's play late in Sunday's game only lends credence to the idea that he is a "stat-padding, regular-season" quarterback and nothing else. 

    He has now choked down the stretch of games more than I can count on two hands and doesn't have anymore excuses. It really is time to put up or shut up.

    Either way, a win against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick will not come easy for Romo and the Boys. They will be facing a defense similar to what they saw in New York on Sunday, at least schematically. He wont have the protection necessary to get the ball down field with Justin Smith, Ray McDonald and Patrick Willis honing in on him.

    It is possible Romo leads the Cowboys to victory in Sunday. In fact, it might even be likely, but that doesn't matter at this point.

    He needs to do it when it counts and that is down the stretch and in the playoffs. Something he hasn't done up until now.